Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Biotechs flip early market gains

NEW YORK - An early surge on the stock market evaporated Friday, as health-care stocks tugged major indexes down.

Biotech companies were especially hard-hit after U.S. lawmakers questioned the pricing of a hepatitis C drug made by Gilead Sciences.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index raced past an all-time high in early trading, then lost steam in the afternoon. It still finished with a solid weekly gain, up 1.4 percent.

The S&P 500 slipped 5.49 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 1,866.52 Friday. It traded as high as 1883.97 earlier in the day, five points above its record high reached March 7.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 16,302.77. The Nasdaq composite dropped 42.50 points, or 0.98 percent, to 4,276.79.

Health-care stocks fell the most in the S&P 500 index. Gilead lost $3.46, or 5 percent, to $72.07. Biogen Idec fell $28.51, or 8 percent, to $318.53.

Nike fell after warning that a stronger U.S. dollar will dampen its results this quarter. Still, strong demand for its shoes and apparel ahead of the World Cup in June helped it beat analysts' earnings expectations in the previous quarter, the company said late Thursday. Nike, one of the 30 stocks in the Dow, lost $4.06, or 5 percent, to $75.21.

In other trading Friday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.74 percent. Crude oil rose 56 cents to close at $99.46 a barrel. Gold gained $5.50 to settle at $1,336 an ounce.

Among other companies in the news, Zions Bancorporation, a regional bank based in Salt Lake City, fell $1.75, or 5 percent, to $31.24. Late Thursday, the Fed said Zions was the only one of 30 major U.S. banks that didn't pass an annual "stress test" that determines whether banks have sufficient capital buffers to keep them lending through an economic crisis.

Symantec lost $2.70, or 13 percent, to $18.20. The maker of security software fired its CEO late Thursday. It was the second time in less than two years that the company has dismissed its chief executive.

Matthew Craft Associated Press
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